Portage la Prairie, MB –
Chelsea Chant thought she was just dressing nice for a quick day-trip to Portage for strawberries but the Winnipeg woman created a stir at the berry patch with her wardrobe selection.
Locals didn’t appreciate the overdressed woman showing up as if she was dressed for a wedding. “Who comes strawberry picking dressed up like that,” Gerri Kuchanski said. “Typical city person who never goes past the perimeter.”
Mrs. Chant arrived mid-morning at the strawberry farm and began picking berries from a standing position wearing what some pickers described as a business casual skirt and top. She received verbal abuse for her clothing choice in the form of catcalls and sarcastic compliments.
Just prior to Mrs. Chant leaving the field in tears, she was presented an old strawberry queen sash that had a “best dressed picker” sign attached to it.
A dress code is not part of the recent Strawberry Picking Protocol and is not enforceable but changes are being looked at for next season.
“We really want the Picking Protocol to be a living document so we can continue to improve the strawberry picking experience,” spokesperson Fred Andrichson said. “It’s imperative we remain the premiere picking destination. As the Strawberry Capital of the world we must have high standards.”
An instructional video, brochure and how to pick flash cards will be produced for next years strawberry season to educate pickers before they begin gathering berries.
“We want to get rid of the frustration and embarrassment associated with these kind of faux pas,” Andrichson said. “Picking is more fun and safe when the rules are enforced.”
Photo: U.S. Department of Agriculture: https://www.flickr.com/photos/usdagov/